In most cases, video programs will provide audiences with one of three options to make their content more accessible; Subtitles, Closed Captions, or Subtitles for the Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing, also known as SDH.


SDH, Subtitles and Closed Captions are all tools of accessibility. They all provide audiences with a means to better understand and enjoy the content that they’re consuming. However, there are some clear distinctions between SDH, Subtitles and Closed Captions.


We are already familiar with the difference between Closed Captions (CC) and Subtitles:

  1. Subtitles are intended for audience members who do not speak the language in the video. Closed captions are in the same language as the video, whereas subtitles are used when the video is in a foreign language.
  1. Closed captions (CC) are intended for audience members who are Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing, and provide text for all audible information. For example Closed Captions will incorporate captions for loud noises, sound effects and music. Closed Captions may also include speaker names when necessary. This is the key point of difference – Subtitles assume that viewers can hear the video, and as a result do not incorporate sound effects. On the other hand, Closed Captions include all audible information as they assume that the audience cannot hear the audio in the video.



Subtitles for the Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing (SDH) is a form of subtitles originating in America. SDH combines the benefits of both Subtitles and Closed Captions. SDH are intended for viewers who are both Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing and do not understand the language spoken in the video.


For example, if the video is in Spanish and the audience is English speaking, then the SDH will be translated from Spanish to English, also incorporating any audible information.



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